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[P]
A Threat of Extraterrestrial Origin

By qpt in Op-Ed
Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:04:34 PM EST
Tags: Security (all tags)
Security

It is a curious flaw in many people that confines their vision to the sub-astral and mundane, while rendering them blissfully ignorant if the potentialities contained in the vast reaches of the universe. As any cosmologist will readily admit, the earth is but a barest speck of dust, laying in the suburbs of an insignificant galaxy in the backwaters of the cosmos. How curious it is, then, that all of humanity's hopes and schemes lie almost wholly within this speck of dust. Without warning, unimaginable horrors could descend to earth from the astral plane, snuffing out humanity's light forever, yet many sleep soundly, secure in the delusion of safety. Suffice to say, the lack of concern given to the extraterrestrial threat is nothing short of grossly irresponsible.


Many would like to argue that the odds are strongly against an extraterrestrial invasion, but this is merely wistful thinking. The hard facts are readily available, and there is no conclusive evidence proving that there is not a strike force of intergalactic shock troops on route to earth right now. Given that we are basically ignorant, the only responsible course of action is to prepare for the worst.

Unfortunately, the governments of the world have shown an appalling lack of concern for the extraterrestrial threat. Indeed, many domestic and foreign policy decisions implicitly assume that the earth is not about to be overrun by blood-thirsty fiends from beyond the stars. For example, none of the participants in the missile defense system talks that are currently taking place have raised the possibility of being forced to defend against photon torpedoes launched from space.

Furthermore, gun control laws are similarly short-sighted. While it may indeed be true that the average citizen has no need of firearms for his daily interactions with fellow human beings, how is he to defend the chastity of his daughter from orgazmo-ray-wielding alien slavers? When the hammer falls, it will not be enough to rely on the military to stop the invaders. Each and every citizen of earth will be needed in the fight against the alien menace.

Some might object that any species advanced enough to cross the distances between galaxies would most likely also be highly morally developed. This is of course utterly absurd and dangerous nonsense. Looking at humanity as an example, it would be idiocy to suggest that moral progress is related to technological progress. Indeed, many of the most technologically advanced groups of humans have been the most cruel and exploitive of their fellows. Given this, it is not at all unreasonable to suppose that any extraterrestrials capable of reaching earth would be vicious brutes.

What can be done against such an overwhelming threat? As a species, we must apply ourselves whole-heartedly to the development of every more advanced weapons. If we are to save our planet from the pod-people, we must have extraordinarily sophisticated ordnance of immense destructive ability. Rather than wasting money on social programs to support alien-fodder, we should funnel those resources into armaments research. Although the future looks bleak, we may yet be able to hold them off until we develop interstellar capabilities and take the offensive.

It will be too late to prepare when your home town is at the business end of a mako cannon and your sons are being dragged off to the dilithium mines. Be ready to do your part when it is time to put the fear of God in those heathen aliens.

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A Threat of Extraterrestrial Origin | 73 comments (57 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
don't worry (3.66 / 12) (#1)
by 31: on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:30:30 AM EST

any attacking fleet will just get swallowed by a dog.

and as you're fond of saying, this comment isn't meant as a joke. I'm being incredibly serious... if we want to be safe, we just need to keep having dogs as pets. problem solved.

-Patrick
I can't figure out if... (3.00 / 6) (#4)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:38:38 AM EST

You're mocking SDI or Gun Control, or if you're serious...

I'll check again in the morning to see which one leaps out at me.

;)

Cheers,

ti dave

Test .sig:

Static-X only know 1 chord, but it's a Damn Good One.


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Mockery... (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:52:04 PM EST

I don't know if he's mocking anything, but unintentionally or otherwise, he's proving that there's something seriously wrong with the moderation system here. *Anything* gets moderated up.

[ Parent ]
We should also be aware (3.72 / 11) (#5)
by Mad Hughagi on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:43:12 AM EST

... of collisions with massive meteoroids, cataclysmic tectonic plate shifts, accelerated climate variation, deadly plagues, corrupt genocidal governments, way-ward black-holes, runaway particle accelerator catastrophes, god smiting us down just for the hell of it when it is time for the end of the world, and pretty much anything else that happens (or we believe to happen) once in a while ;)

Invading aliens is a possibility, but when weighing it in with the rest of the signal it is more or less humourous science fiction.

Unless aliens can control solar mechanics, geophysics, biological diversity on earth, the minds of our leaders, the route our science takes and how our deities feel about us, then I don't think we have much to worry about. Brute force would be far too unsophisticated for a space-faring entity. By the time we get there I don't think we'll have to rely on our destructive capability to get what we want or to protect what we will have ;)
HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.

I thought that... (4.20 / 15) (#6)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:10:33 AM EST

... this was a good idea, when I ran across it.



Is it just me... (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:27:00 PM EST

...or is the link dead?

[ Parent ]
Kuro5hin has hit the big time! (4.33 / 3) (#53)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:01:22 PM EST

This is a red letter day in Kuro5hin history!

I get:

500 Server Error The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached

Looks like the site has been "Kuroded". (The Kuro5hin equivalent of Slashdotted.)

(Too bad, it was funny.)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Gee... (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 09:58:08 PM EST

... I didn't mean to kurode that dude's connection. I ran across him some time ago, while wandering the vast data ocean, and thought he seemed like a really cool guy. I only hope to be that cool someday.

Oh, and kuroded strikes me as a far superiour term to slashdotted. One is a kludgey word, the other is a natural conjugation. :)



[ Parent ]

A rational defense (4.00 / 12) (#8)
by tokage on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:59:39 AM EST

After some careful consideration, I believe I have a scheme which will ensure the safety of humanity, and the American Way. We need to become more aware of our neighbors activities, behind closed doors. It is my firm belief that any one of the people I meet daily could be an extraterrestrial, and should be treated thusly. You know they wear human masks and peel that shit off when they're in the relative security of their bedrooms. A carefully implemented monitoring system would work wonders in ensuring our personal peace of mind. Say if every person over the age of 14 watched at least 3 people daily, installing hard to detect cameras and microphones, we'd have a blanket of security as everyone would be covered by at least 3 people. Some by two I guess if they can be trusted to watch themselves. which is perfectly rational as who knows you better than you know yourself?

Upon detecting any strange behavior such as impotence, eating crackers while watching Johnny Cash reruns, touching of their genitalia, their names should be submitted to a central repository. Eventually they'll be eliminated, but not too soon as we don't want to tip our hands. They musn't know we're aware of the extent of the extraterrestrial infiltration. We know though, they're fucking everywhere. GWB is one, indeed. So was Gore before he was frozen then reanimated, controlled by a secret society of Alaskian monks who live underground and consume salt water for energy.

You should also feel free as a patriotic American to shoot them repeatedly with your .44 Magnum. If you do not possess said weapon, you are likely an alien or communist, in which case I advise you to smoke your victory cigar now, because I'm coming for you and you won't have a chance to run. It's inevitable, the forces of good and capitalism must have free reign upon the planet, to ensure the availibility of small sticky candies and jellied doughnuts. Also talk shows and apple pie.

Armed with my guide to the cleansing of the planet, you should have no trouble navigating the hazards of life. Just remember to smoke your milk and drink your crack, and stay in school. Also daily buy 3 to 7 items you do not need, made by a child in one of those foreign countries where everything smells like pepper and camels. 11 cents an hour and the satisfaction that you've made a Quality Product that will be appreciated by the American Consumer, holiest of holies should be all the reward you desire, little people.

You better pray to God there's some Thorazine in that bag, otherwise you're in bad fucking trouble.

What should be saved? (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by Nickus on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:24:02 AM EST

Do we really have to save both humanity and the American way? I think there would be a lot more of the former without the latter :-). Ahem.

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
[ Parent ]
Indeed (3.66 / 3) (#60)
by tokage on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:23:09 PM EST

You've lost your belief in the essential decency of the American Dream. There's a grim logic to it all, really. Cut down a forest, pave it over, provide access for recreational vehicles, install some McDonalds and other fine resturants, because then people can enjoy nature in comfort! If you devote your life to keeping up with the newest fashion, listen to the newest music, then you don't have to think at all once in your life! A pretty small price for intellectual peace, in my opinion. Get involved in the PTA and fight for gun control, march on Washington to 'protect the children', watch your weight and mental health. Buy a large SUV to protect your family should a mountain suddenly sprout out of the freeway as you're driving off for the family vacation at Disney Land. Getting to the plastic covered world of walking stuffed animals is of paramount importance and must be carefully plotted.

The movie "Spies Like Us" brought it home. When the General was forcing a nuclear war and was told "you risk annihilating us all" he responded "I'm willing to take that risk, in order to protect the American way of life".

Oh well, my head hurts now. I think I need to go buy some stuff I don't need to quiet the demons.

You better pray to God there's some Thorazine in that bag, otherwise you're in bad fucking trouble.
[ Parent ]

Do you mind ? (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by CaptainZapp on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:24:36 AM EST

I advise you to smoke your victory cigar now, because I'm coming for you and you won't have a chance to run

Is it OK if I light up a Partagas No1, Conaisseur Series?

You know, since it's one of those embargoed commie-cigars.

[ Parent ]

Sure (3.33 / 3) (#59)
by tokage on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:11:23 PM EST

It's okay with me, Catro. Just remember We know all about it and your actions will be neatly filed away in an anonymous black filing cabinet as the 386sx/16 holding the database records is down for repairs.

Sounds like a good cigar..myself, I've only smoked maybe 10 cigars in my life. Mostly at card games and the like..PTA meetings, gatherings of subversive forces celebrating victory in our unholy miscreant voices. You understand.

You better pray to God there's some Thorazine in that bag, otherwise you're in bad fucking trouble.
[ Parent ]

Hooray for Hollywood (3.50 / 8) (#10)
by smallstepforman on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:04:55 AM EST

Occasionally I enjoy an episode of StarTrek or similar SF, but most of the series ignores a major falacy: that the technological and moral levels of alien civilisations is not on par with our own. If an alien civilisation has the technology to reach our star system, and their intentions are hostile, we stand absolutely no chance of defending ourselves for more than 20 seconds, maybe 30 if we're lucky. If you compare our current technology and armed forces with the most advanced armies of 500AD the armered knights and crusaders stand 0% chance of actually seeing who is slaughtering them, let alone dying valiantly in battle. When you're talking about a technological difference of several million years, you realise that any defenses we might have are useless. On the other hand, modern civilisation is proud of its morality, and this is bound to reach newer heights. A civilisation with a million year morality would probably be quite amused by our species and do everything in their power to protect us and see us prosper. Contact could only do us good.

We don't have anything to worry about (4.22 / 9) (#12)
by John Milton on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:27:15 AM EST

The American colonist were more technologically advanced than the Native Americans, and look how we treated them. I'm sure the aliens will be cuddly. :)


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Conjures images (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:26:27 PM EST

Hmm. Man-of-War standing to near a small island, relieved local governor in Her Majesty's Service or even worse, East India Company, points out to the natives that if they don't behave, that thing will kill them. To prove the point, the Man-of-War fires a broadside. Sufficiently subdued, the natives acquiesce for another six months or so.
Oh, and yeah, the British, the French, the Belgians, the Germans, the Spaniards, and the Portugese were all there to 'Christianize' the natives, which I'm sure the natives really appreciated.
Now, as to morality, I think the likes of Rwanda (Belgian protectorate), where the Belgian set up the current system by which genocide can be easily perpetuated (race is on the id card), I think there might be some disagreement with your assessment of morality, because while the world was off bombing the heck out of such innocents as Somalia, they completely ignored Rwanda, where far more people were killed. Oh, and if your skin is white and you suffer genocide, you're in a better position, because the entire Western world will send their airforces, but not risk their own skins, to stop that from happening, but 1.2 million Rwandaise die and nobody cares. Doesn't even make front-page news consistently.
Yah, morality improves. Yah, we should base decisions on morality. Right.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Rwanda (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:55:30 PM EST

How exactly did you expect western militaries to get to Rwanda? It would take a significant amount of men to stop the genocide. Let us assume that it would require a divisions worth of troops (about 15,000 men) to pacify the region. Rwanda isn't that small after all and would definately be hostile to some extent. First of all, Rwanda is land locked so that makes it impossible to move troops by sea (as was done in Somalia) and as western nations tend to prefer. It would be possible to move men efficiently by air but moving in equipment (think APC's and tanks) would be extremely difficult. Not too mention time consuming and expensive (armored divisions do not transit by air for a reason). So that only leaves moving by land. That would require the permission of at least several countries to move troops through them. This would also require the requestioning of ports. There is also a need for security of the supply routes so western troops would need to be left in these other African countries. It would also be impossible to use a lot of the assets of western nations such as air superiority because of the lack of bases in the area. It simply was not feasible to send in troops to Rwanda. It's not simply the moving them there and back, it's the supplying them while they're there that causes problems. And if you can't supply a military, it's not worth sending in.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Several things (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:12:44 PM EST

The Rwandan military is not in possession of heavy infantry of any kind. Their heaviest piece of equipment is an armored jeep with a small mortar, of some European construction. Their most common armored jeep merely has a 10x72 Anti-aircraft machinegun. Heavy infantry really won't be needed. That being said, the UN did lift in some tanks and used them for evacuating people from Kigali during the actual fighting between the rebels and the government. However, there is an air base in Kenya, within range, and boasting both heavy bombers and strike craft, and there's a Marine base in Burundi that has helo-assault capability, and there was a large complement of Foreign Legion already in the country. Zaiire, not very far from Rwanda, is in possession of several large airports they don't really use. Dar-Es-Salaam is a seaport that is within two weeks' drive from Rwanda through countries amenable to Western ideas.
I think it would have been possible to reduce the bloodshed with a division or so and properly aggressive tactics (shoot on sight for genocidals, etc.), and using Marine helo-gunships for air support (the Rwandan airforce consisted of two helos at one time, but one got shot down in a training excersize, and they won't risk the other, and they have one outdated heavy transport (radial piston-engine), and one 707 for the president to ride in that hasn't been noise-converted, so is illegal in almost all major airports), but I wouldn't want to do it.
Actually, all the problems you stated except the lack of a large airbase apply equally well to Slobodan Milosovic &co., as one of the reasons NATO command felt they couldn't mount a suitable invasion was lack of port facilities and good roads that didn't cut through countries opposed to military action in the area. However, NATO still pressed ahead.
For the record, I'm against any such interventions, as I find them immoral in and of themselves and view it as a curious morality that believes they are moral. Anyway, if a thing is moral, you do it no matter how difficult it turns out to be.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Rwanda (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:26:46 PM EST

First of all, western forces wouldn't bring in heavy weapons to fight heavy weapons but instead to protect the soldiers. If there are many causilities, the mission is over. That's a simple political reality. So there's a need for at least some APC's (ever noticed the UN always has them onsite for peace keeping?). Second, it would be very difficult to supply the troops once they managed to get in country. There is no established rail system. There are no good roads. Supplying an army in those conditions is extremely difficult. The supply conditions are at such an extreme difficulty that they make it extrememly hazardous to move an army there. It just really couldn't happen.

Kosovo is also very much analogous to Rwanda. First of all, Kosovo is very near to many US European bases. It was a NATO mission and therefore it was easy to secure Italian permission to use their air bases. Kosovo is also much nearer to the ocean than Rwanda is. By being near the ocean, it allowed the use of air craft carriers and also the movement of heavy equipment by sea. Also, NATO troops entered Kosovo in a permissive environment (meaning there was not an ongoing hostile situation). There's a large difference between going into a hostile as opposed to permissive environment. Rwanda would have been a hostile environment at the time of the massacres.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Do what I did (3.66 / 12) (#15)
by sigwinch on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:48:06 AM EST

It is a curious flaw in many people that confines their vision to the sub-astral and mundane, ... Without warning, unimaginable horrors could descend to earth from the astral plane, snuffing out humanity's light forever, yet many sleep soundly, secure in the delusion of safety.
I gave my soul to great Cthulu. Why wait for repulsive horrors to descend from the black depths of farthest space, when we have perfectly good repulsive horrors just lying around for the asking here on Earth, I always say.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.

we are too alone (3.25 / 8) (#16)
by surplus value on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:05:13 AM EST

The universe is the entire measure of man and vice versa. Deal with it, you miserable, lonely bastards, and defend yourselves from the aliens within -- libertarians.

---
War Inc.: No one fucks with The Great Satan.

It's just a ride (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by loaf on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:22:10 AM EST

"how is he to defend the chastity of his daughter from orgazmo-ray-wielding alien slavers?"

<Bill Hicks>

Kinda brings a new meaning to the phrase, "You're not from around here, are you boy?"
</Bill Hicks>

If there's bog-all you can do about it, like the issue of life itself and the enormity of the human condition, why worry?

There's a lot to be said for Hedonism and blissful ignorance.

Fun! (2.71 / 7) (#22)
by chbm on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 06:59:14 AM EST

If someone change the topic to humor I'll +1FP it! :)

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
There is no "Humor" section. (none / 0) (#41)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:46:51 PM EST

And Rusty has OK'ed Op-Ed for humor pieces.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Couple of misconceptions... (3.25 / 4) (#23)
by Xeriar on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 07:51:28 AM EST

The Milky Way is not an average galaxy by a long shot, and our sun is not necessarily an average star, either.

Our galaxy has more minerals than most would - we appear to not have suffered from the minor problem of 'galactic collision' that tends to strip galaxies of these things. It is one of the most massive entities in our supercluster.

Our sun is a 3rd-5th generation star, giving us a large base of minerals to work with. If life were to appear somewhere, this galaxy and our sun should come as no surprise.

That said, a helluva lot of other intelligent life forms may be out there (if they've survived long enough). If so, they are aeons ahead of us, and fighting them is an almost ridiculous notion.

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.

Well... (none / 0) (#71)
by daelstorm on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 07:02:48 PM EST

Interestingly enough, there's evidence that a small galaxy has been in the act of colliding with the Milky Way for some time. Info about this dwarf galaxy can be found here and here.

[ Parent ]
More of a merger, looks like... (none / 0) (#73)
by Xeriar on Thu Jul 19, 2001 at 07:48:48 PM EST

It is comparitively puny, and it's not smashing through our galaxy (as many collisions result in).

I'm rather suspicious about claiming anything orbits our galaxy that close ten times retaining its form. Then again we don't know much :-)

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

mako cannon (3.00 / 5) (#27)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:44:57 AM EST

I have this image of an oversized potato gun firing sharks at Kansas.

Wow. I really did do too much acid in my youth.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams

Mako is a reference to... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by Mephron on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:07:39 PM EST

Final Fantasy VII. They use the Mako energy (which is actually the subterannean Lifestream, the life force of the earth) to power reactors and weapons and stuff like that.

For a moment, I thought he was talking about the kato cannons, which are from Shogo by Monolith.

This has been my irritating and pedantic post of the week.

[ Parent ]

Photon torpedos (3.40 / 5) (#30)
by treat on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 10:37:44 AM EST

the possibility of being forced to defend against photon torpedoes launched from space

A photon torpedo's energy comes from matter/antimatter annihilation. The best our present missle defense technology can do is destroy the weapon in mid-flight. This is effective against a nuclear missle because detonation is such a complex matter, and against a conventional explosive missle because it is so weak that detonation at any distance from the target renders it harmless. However, with a photon torpedo, if it is struck by another missle and destroyed, this will disable the magnetic antimatter containment, causing the device to detonate. With a maximum explosive yield of 25 isotons, clearly we would not want this happening anywhere in the lower atmosphere.

I do not believe the same issues apply to defense against quantum torpedos, which are more powerful but also more rare.

We should also consider the possibility that these weapons might be fired at warp, something our tracking systems can not handle.

Technobabble (3.66 / 3) (#47)
by jabber on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:36:07 PM EST

Well, if we just reverse the polarity of the matter/anti-matter containment field, and randomly modulate the resonant frequency of the Earth's ionosphere, and make sure that we convincingly simulate infra-red radiation to lure the macroviruses to sickbay, which BTW already contains the cheese, then we shouldn't have any problems, should we?

Those silly aliens just do not realize that the indominable human spirit always triumphs in the last commercial break, do they?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

I think you mean Treknobabble (3.66 / 3) (#65)
by odaiwai on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:56:42 AM EST

...and while we're here, someone find a tachyon particle.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
We're coming... (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by /dev/niall on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 10:55:36 AM EST

... and you better lock up your tortoise!

Wh00ps, daughters.


--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot

Uh, well you know... (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by DeadBaby on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 11:28:38 AM EST

It's pretty hard to defend stuff that is FICTION to the human race as things stand. We'd be fucked and I think most people understand that.

"Space Defense" would be an insane waste of money.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
The odds... (4.00 / 7) (#34)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:08:52 PM EST

Consider this:

There are around 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. Assume that about 1/4 of them are "sunlike" enough to allow life to evolve.

What are the odds that a civilization will be on any particular one of these stars now? A sunlike star will last about 10 billion years. Let's assume that the "average" civilization lasts about 10,000 years after spaceflight. (Remember, we can close to destroying ourselves only a decade or so after this). That means that any particular life-supporting start has a 10,000/10,000,000,000 chance of having a space-faring civilization now. That works out to a chance of about 0.0001%.

Given this, for each spacefaring civilization, there are 999,999 life-supporting stars with no civilization.

With that in mind, there seems little reason why a spacefaring civilization would want to bother invading another, with all those empty worlds out there.

Note that this makes certain assumptions. For example, it assumes that all sun-like stars will have earth-like planets. That's probably not the case. That means even fewer spacefaring civilizations. It also assumes that spacefaring civilizations exist for millenia. That may well not be true. Given the logorithmic nature of human progress, it is hard to imagine how this would be the case without technological stagnation.

Given that nature of progress, it is also hard to imagine how the human race could ever hope to stand up to a civilization that had been in space for millenia (which, if the average civilization lifetime is 10,000 years, would usually be the case). It would be like a group of 15th century conquistadors hoping to hold off the US Marines. Given that a technological advantage of only ten to twenty years in the Gulf War resulted in the utter annihalation of one side, well...

So, taking this seriously, I have to say that such attempts at defense are pointless. The chance of needing it are far too slight and the chance of it actually working are even slighter.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Thanks Mr. Wizard (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by Biff Cool on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:04:29 PM EST

With that in mind, there seems little reason why a spacefaring civilization would want to bother invading another, with all those empty worlds out there.

We'll see how good your fancy-pants math is when we're all slaving in the cobalt mines of Betelgeuse IV, and are women are breeding horrible alien/human hybrids.

I for one am taking weirdling's advice and becoming a loser, and maybe also a pilot cause they're the kind of take charge people that tend to stop the aliens while you science types sit there and theorize about how fast their ray-guns are gonna tear thru your incredibly smart chest.


My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler


[ Parent ]
why? (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:32:11 PM EST

Why would a civilization last for only 10,000 years after spaceflight? That sounds really silly, and assumes every race that advances that far is as aggressive as humans and will destroy themselves. Even if that were so, why would it matter if a highly advanced space-faring race were always destroying themselves, why wouldn't they inhabit multiple planets, which would allow them to survive even if they were as stupid as us humans.

I say we prepare ourselves for the invasion that is most probably imminent! Everyone, stock up on guns, ammo, explosives, the fight for our very race is upon us! Today, we celebrate, our Independence Day! Oh... ummm.. sorry ; )


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Two reasons... (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:56:34 PM EST

Well, first, the most compelling argument against this is that if the lifetime of an intelligent civilization where infinite, the galaxy would already have been filled by it. Since they are not here...

But more to the point, I think that if progress doesn't stagnate, any civilization is going to reach a point where they are basically as advanced as gods. We'd be ameoba to them. They'd be so advanced that there'd be no intersection between our experience and theirs and thus they would essentially be off the board as far as we are concerned.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

nonsense! (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:11:42 PM EST

Maybe they are not here simply because they have not reached _HERE_ _YET_.

As far as becoming as advanced as gods, that's a bunch of mumbo jumbo as we are not that advanced and we having nothing to base these assumptions on.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

They've attacked several times (4.81 / 11) (#36)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:37:41 PM EST

How earth has triumphed:
The Martians:
Got sick and died after ravaging most major cities.

Some unknown race:
Destroyed by a virus emplanted in their main computer through an auxilliary docking mechanism under the watchful eye of command-control. Subsequently, a small nuclear device destroyed a ship as big as the moon.

The Vogons:
Destroyed the earth as a normal byproduct of highway making. They actually won and nobody cared except the dolphins, who took pity on us and rebuilt our world, and the mice, who were pissed the Vogons destroyed their computer.

Another unidentified race:
Used to hunt around these parts back when the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Foiled by the famous Dr. Who.

The Martians again (different species):
Destroyed by ancient folk/country music.

The Martians again (different species):
Destroyed when a high-power transmission line was dropped on their ship, shorting out their psycho-telesis that they were using to control humankind.

See, although aliens have and continue to attack the earth, we really have nothing to fear. They have big ships and lots of power, and, except for one case, our nukes are inneffective, but they are inept and bungling, and they have a giant achille's heel, which some down-and-out loser always finds and thus makes himself a celebrity.
The conclusion? We should be cultivating down-and-out losers, not heroic people. Tell your kids to quit doing their homework, take up dope smoking, and generally waste time.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Dr. Who (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by Elendur on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 07:38:42 PM EST

If you're going to count stuff from Dr. Who there are about 500 more times we've won.

[ Parent ]
Why? (3.25 / 4) (#37)
by chulbert on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 12:42:27 PM EST

I initially slapped a -1 on this faster than you can say "Resistance is futile," but it seems to have made it to section headline land, so I'll bite.

An underlying assumption in the "aliens attack earth" and "aliens experiment on humans" hysteria is that humans are important and significant in the cosmic arena.

We're not.

There's a civilization classification system created by Soviet SETI researcher Nikolai S. Kardashev in the early 1960s and later extended by Carl Sagan that goes something like this:

Class I - A civilization that can completely harness and control all the energies and resources on their planet.

Class II - A civilzation capable of harvesting all the energy of a star (presumably its sun).

Class III - A civilization on a galactic scale. Such as civilization uses the energy of galaxies and can probably alter space and time in ways unimaginable.

We're not even close to Class I.

A race capable of traversing the space between stars has to be at least Class II, approaching Class III.

First, and foremost, I can't imagine why such an advanced civilization would care about puny, insignificant Earth. Maybe our collective, overstated notion of self-worth creates cosmic rays that aliens are susceptible to, but I doubt it.

Second, presuming said aliens were interested in Earth AND were hostile, what could we possibly do to defend ourselves against an enemy so advanced?


"I weep for the species."

woo-wee-woo-woo-wee-wooo (3.33 / 3) (#44)
by AgentGray on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:14:41 PM EST

Why is it as I was reading this, I felt like I was listeng to a voiceover by David Duchovny?

If you must fret... (3.50 / 4) (#45)
by dutky on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:20:22 PM EST

You might want to spend your time fretting about something more likely to happen than alien invasion.

Over the last million years or so, there hasn't been a single obvious instance of aliens invading the planet, raping our daughters (or sons, for that matter) or generally wiping out the human race (I'd think I would have noticed if I'd been wiped out). However, a number of other catastrophic events have occurred, and are plenty likely to occur again, and we have just about as much chance of our defending against these more mundane threats as we do of repelling an alien invasion.

To wit: There have been serveral volcanic super-explosions for which we have reasonable records: Karakatoa in 1883, a similar event in the mediterranean around the time of the fall of Rome, the explosion of Mt. Mazama in ~5,000 BC (resulting in Crater Lake), and an even larger explosion that created the area of Yellowstone national park around 640,000 years ago.

These events can have effects as profound and wide reaching as cometary or asteroidal impact, and they happen a hell of a lot more frequently. Of course you don't have to believe me, but maybe this would be more convincing (also check out the Further Information link).

So, go ahead, stock up on automatic handweapons, but don't expect it do any good when the real shit hits the fan. The central feature of Lovecraft's stories was not that there were evil aliens lurking about whose deepest desire was to torture and kill all of humanity. The central feature was that there were forces in the universe that, without the slightest effort, could wipe out all of humanity, without ever noticing or caring that we exist.

I must, I must (3.60 / 5) (#57)
by ghjm on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:54:51 PM EST

Over the last million years or so, there hasn't been a single obvious instance of aliens invading the planet, (blah blah)

Of course not. Aliens are subtle. Duh.

To wit: There have been serveral volcanic super-explosions for which we have reasonable records: Karakatoa in 1883, (blah blah)

All caused by aliens. Your point?

These events can have effects as profound and wide reaching as cometary or asteroidal impact (blah blah + links)

Exactly. Or as wide reaching as alien invasion.

The central feature of Lovecraft's stories was (blah blah) aliens (blah blah)

Yes - those aliens. That's exactly the point. Why is this so hard for you to see?

-Graham

[ Parent ]

of course, what was I thinking? (none / 0) (#58)
by dutky on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:10:49 PM EST

I don't know what came over me: It's all so obvious. I'll just have a seat in the corner now and go quietly insane.

[ Parent ]
I whole-heartedly agree (3.00 / 3) (#46)
by jabber on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:23:01 PM EST

It is time we took preventative action. We must keep our Earth safe and precious to us, and undesirable to the alien hordes. I have a humble suggestion:

We must start doping the World's water supplies with LITHIUM!

That way, the alien mind-control rays will fail to cause our greatest prophets from seeming to be madmen, ranting lunacy in the public square, and being hauled off to a soft quilted room where their howls of warning would fall on the deaf ears of mindless orderlies whose sole purpose in life is to administer Prozac via pneumatic enema injections.

Yes. YES! I say! Lithium for everybody!

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Space Voyaging Mushroom Spores In Search Of (3.00 / 4) (#48)
by moggo on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:16:27 PM EST

A Host Consciousness. We Were Infected Millenia Ago You Silly Monkey.

This is all the skull-sweat ever given... (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by anansi on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:34:42 PM EST

...to what eventually will become a genuine issue.

I think the author is completely off base in assuming that all they will want to do is lord over us like conquestadores. But if you look at the history of first contact between humans, there's no reason to assume that it will go more smoothly when we are the savages.

Any government with the imagination to poison Fidel Casto's cigars, and quarentine the apollo astronauts must have cooked up some scenarios for lucid alien contact. Maybe the astronaust were given no briefing at all on what to do if they encountered a black monolith... but they should have been, and that should be part of the public record.


Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

The atomic crisis (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by Kasreyn on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:07:55 PM EST

From Star Trek lore: the Vulcans deem a point 50 years after the discovery of basic fusion (approximately 50, not exactly) as the turning point for a civilization. That is, if the civilization proves capable of ethical behavior, it lives. If not, it destroys itself. Since the discovery of atomic power is assumed (by us) to always be a precursor to whatever technologies may one day lead us to interstellar flight, we assume that any race that might physically contact us has passed their atomic test. Of course, this is all not taking into account the possibility of aliens attacking or contacting us via radio emissions or other signals, without having to physically visit us. I'm sure our orbiting TV satellites are easy enough to hack into, and the slime beings from Gamma Globulin can easily insert subliminal programming to make us all their slaves (it's easy, all they have to do is remove the current subliminal programming that makes us the corporations' slaves, and insert their own messages! =).

In other news, the U.S. is making other nations VERY nervous testing our "Star Wars" system, and it's been a bit over 50 years since the first A-bomb was exploded... please buckle your seat belts. =)

-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
The Tripods! (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by wiredog on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 09:08:54 PM EST

insert subliminal programming to make us all their slaves

A series by John Christopher had humanity enslaved just that way!

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]

Yeah, I know... (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by Kasreyn on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 10:38:22 PM EST

...I read those when I was 10 or so and never looked at a TV the same way again. =P

It was the Tripods Trilogy, which also had a prelude novel published later. Book one is The White Mountains, for anyone interested in grabbing it from a library. Some nice sci-fi, though a bit geared to teen readers and not adults. But, no more than was Ender's Game. =)

-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
A prelude? (3.00 / 2) (#68)
by wiredog on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 08:48:05 AM EST

What's the title? I'd like to read it. I've only read the three in the original trilogy.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Can't remember, sorry. (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by Kasreyn on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 01:10:35 PM EST

It was something like "Coming of the Tripods" or something. Detailed how they went about their conquest. Not as good as the trilogy IMHO.

-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
A-bomb not fusion (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by ForceOfWill on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:48:00 AM EST

and it's been a bit over 50 years since the first A-bomb was exploded...
IIRC the A-bomb was a *fission* device. The H-bomb would have been the first *fusion* reaction set off by humans. I'm also not sure if "basic fusion" means a bomb or controlled fusion. I guess if the civilization destroys itself, it's a bomb.
Seeing is believing; you wouldn't have seen it if you didn't believe it.
[ Parent ]
This article reminds me of a dialogue... (2.00 / 3) (#70)
by cbraga on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 04:40:07 PM EST

... I saw in a Simpsons episode:

(They're in the front yard)
Lisa: Hey dad, this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: How do you know it works?
Lisa: Well, do you see any tigers around here?
Homer: No...
Lisa: Then it must work...
Then Lisa sells the rock to Homer.

You see, this article works through a broken logic. Just like Homer thinks the rock repels tigers because he can't see any, the writer thinks the universe is filled with murderous aliens just because no one can see any.

Or like those religious freaks who say: You can't prove God doesn't exist, therefore He must exist.

How pathetic.

ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p
Invading force? Bah. (none / 0) (#72)
by EriKZ on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 10:51:30 AM EST

You overestimate what one would need to do to take over this world from space. The tech needed to go from system to system is quite high. But all I would need is

A ship with some sort of gun on it. Perferably energy based so I don't have to mine asteriods to make more ammo.
A gibberish to alien translator.

I would orbit high above the earth, the US would be my first traget. If they did not surrender I would:

Blow up the power stations. Not much damage needed to seperate the grid from the generators.

Put holes in the runways of airports.

Destroy train tracks and critical major highways.

So, now you have no power, no food, no way to to deliver goods, and if I'm feeling nasty, no water.

Once the US gave up, I would implement a plan of rebuilding and retraining of the armed forces. After that, the rest of the world is easy.

A Threat of Extraterrestrial Origin | 73 comments (57 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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